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Busted Racquet

Sprint, not marathon: Isner breezes past Mahut in rematch

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isner mahut 2011 wimby

The sequels are never as good.

In the much anticipated follow-up to last year's record-setting marathon, John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 7-6, 6-2, 7-6, in a scant two hours, three minutes in their first-round match Tuesday at Wimbledon. This meeting was more than five times shorter than their 183-game match from 2010.

The pair began the day like they left off last June, trading service games without incident before Isner easily prevailed in a first-set tiebreaker. When he won that first set, some of the life seemed to go out of Mahut and you couldn't help but get the feeling that he was wondering if he'd ever be able to break the big-serving Isner. He hadn't done so since the second set of their 2010 epic.

Then again, Isner had only broken Mahut once in the previous 84 games too, a streak which didn't last long. The American broke early in the second set en route to an easy 6-2 victory. Mahut showed some life in the third, finally getting that long-awaited break, but Isner answered, evened the match and won the tiebreak to take the match.

"Obviously it was considerably quicker than the last time we played," he said after the match.

Isner appeared to be the more willing participant in the unexpected rematch, which isn't surprising seeing as how he was the victor last time. Since the match was announced last Friday, Mahut carried himself like a man who wanted no part of the circus the second time around. Can you blame him? His name was only and always be linked to a match he lost. Even if he got revenge on Isner this time, that wouldn't have changed.

Some differences between the two matches:

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Screen shot 2011-06-21 at 6.28.32 PM

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